Following God’s Way of Choosing Church Leaders
Life often presents unexpected opportunities that can challenge our current path. John, a satisfied Worship Leader, found himself facing such a situation when his Senior Pastor asked him to become a pastor at one of their campuses and asked him to “give it a try”.
Although John was eager to grow in his leadership, something about the attitude of the Senior Pastor struck him as odd. Something about this request seemed to contradict what the Bible teaches about selecting leaders for the church. What does the Bible say about choosing leaders of His Church?
Following Biblical Guidelines
Paul writes in Titus 1:5,
“I left you in charge in Crete so you could complete what I left half-done. Appoint leaders in every town according to my instructions. As you select them, ask, “Is this man well-thought-of? Is he committed to his wife? Are his children believers? Do they respect him and stay out of trouble?” Titus 1:5 (MSG).
The Apostle Paul instructs Titus on choosing church leaders, emphasizing the importance of character, reputation, commitment to family, and the behavior of their children. Let’s delve deeper into these biblical guidelines to understand their significance.
A leader’s character is foundational to their effectiveness and influence within the church. Proverbs 22:1 reminds us that a good reputation is more valuable than riches. Leaders should exemplify qualities such as integrity, humility, and a servant’s heart (Philippians 2:3-4).
A leader’s commitment to their spouse is essential. Scripture emphasizes the significance of a strong marital relationship rooted in love and mutual respect (Ephesians 5:25, Colossians 3:19). A healthy family life reflects the leader’s ability to manage and care for God’s people.
A leader’s children should exhibit faith and respect, demonstrating the leader’s ability to nurture and guide their own household (1 Timothy 3:4-5). This aspect indicates the leader’s effectiveness in raising godly children.
Learning from Paul’s Example
Paul’s method of appointing leaders provides valuable insights for us today. When starting churches, Paul sought out mature Christians to care for new congregations. He entrusted individuals like Timothy and Titus with the responsibility of overseeing and nurturing believers in various regions.
This model highlights the importance of experienced and faithful individuals in leadership roles. It underscores the significance of leaders who can provide guidance, wisdom, and spiritual care to the church community. By following Paul’s example, we ensure that leaders are equipped to lead effectively and provide the necessary support to the congregation.
Qualities that Matter
Leadership roles in the church demand more than mere willingness or availability. Scripture calls for leaders who reflect Christ’s character and display certain qualities essential for effective leadership.
A leader should exhibit spiritual maturity, displaying a deep understanding of God’s Word and a growing relationship with Him. Ephesians 4:14-15 encourages believers to attain spiritual maturity, rooted in Christ and equipped to lead others.
Active Church Involvement
Effective leaders actively participate in the life of the church. They lead by example, faithfully attending gatherings, participating in discipleship, and engaging in meaningful relationships with fellow believers (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Leaders should have a positive impact not only within the church but also in their community. They should demonstrate Christ’s love and live as salt and light, impacting those around them for the glory of God (Matthew 5:13-16).
God’s People, God’s Leaders
When selecting leaders, we must always remember that the church belongs to God, and its members are His people. Therefore, leaders should reflect His character, love, and care in their lives and leadership.
Shepherding God’s Flock
Scripture repeatedly portrays church leaders as shepherds entrusted with the care of God’s people (Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:2-3). This imagery emphasizes the responsibility of leaders to guide, protect, and nurture the congregation, just as a shepherd tends to the needs of the flock.
Prioritizing Spiritual Well-being
The primary focus of church leadership should be the spiritual growth and well-being of the congregation. While numerical growth is valuable, it should never supersede the importance of nurturing a vibrant and thriving faith community. Jesus emphasized the significance of feeding His sheep, caring for their spiritual needs (John 21:15-17).
Accountability to God
Church leaders are accountable to God for their stewardship of His people. Hebrews 13:17 reminds us that leaders will give an account for their actions and decisions. Therefore, it is crucial to select leaders who understand the weight of their responsibility and faithfully lead with God’s wisdom and guidance.
6 Ways to Choose Church Leaders:
- Seek God’s Guidance: When choosing church leaders, prayer should be our starting point. Seek God’s wisdom and guidance, asking Him to reveal the individuals who align with His character and purpose for the church (James 1:5).
- Examine Character and Qualifications: Before appointing leaders, carefully assess their character and qualifications in light of biblical standards (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9). Look for evidence of spiritual maturity, a commitment to their family, and positive influence within the church and community.
- Establish a Thorough Selection Process: Develop a structured and comprehensive selection process that includes interviews, reference checks, and opportunities for candidates to demonstrate their leadership abilities. This process should align with the biblical criteria for leadership qualifications (Acts 6:3-4).
- Provide Ongoing Training and Support: Invest in the development of leaders by providing training, mentorship, and ongoing support. Equip them with the necessary tools and resources to effectively fulfill their roles (2 Timothy 2:2).
- Encourage Active Involvement: Encourage leaders to actively engage in their personal lives, the church, and the community. Foster an environment where they can grow in their relationship with God, utilize their spiritual gifts, and impact the lives of others (Romans 12:6-8).
- Regular Evaluation and Accountability: Establish a system for regular evaluation and feedback to assess leaders’ effectiveness in fulfilling their responsibilities. Hold them accountable to their commitments and provide guidance for growth and improvement (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
As followers of Christ, we are called to select church leaders in accordance with God’s ways. By following biblical guidelines, learning from the examples set by Paul, prioritizing essential qualities, and recognizing the significance of God’s people and their well-being, we ensure that our leaders reflect His character and fulfill their calling.
Let us approach the task of appointing leaders with prayer, discernment, and a deep commitment to nurturing a community of believers who passionately follow Christ and impact the world for His glory.